Review: The March of the Penguins
Last month my fiancee and I saw The March of the Penguins (March of the Penguins (Widescreen Edition)) and I was absolutely floored by many aspects of the movie. As an amateur photographer, I marveled at the beautiful imagry and the harsh conditions under which the photographers had to work. As an environmentalist, I have an appreciation for the conditions and marvel at the size of the area those birds live in. As a [amazon-item:0316159948|Bloom County] fan, I finally understand the jokes about Opus and whether he's actually a Penguin or a Puffin.
Around the time we saw this movie, someone in the slashdotter crowd had written a piece comparing open source projects with the Penguins life shown in this movie. The movie's main theme was this desparate-seeming survival dance where parents join together, mate, and then spend several months protecting an egg from the freezing cold. I suppose this must have struck home for open source enthusiasts as they carefully nurture their projects into life.
But I think it's exemplifying a psychological process that's happening in peoples reactions to this movie. Namely, projection.
Consider Checking penguins' I.D.
This is a salon.com "war room" blog entry describing how the Intelligent Design faction is seeing in this movie proof for their claims.
Projection is a term in psychology referring to the process where someone is in denial of having a certain belief, and instead pretends to see that belief in others. For example an angry person might deny their anger, and instead see everybody else as angry.
Projection is such an insidious part of human nature that it's hard to see it happening, and thus it's really hard to see the world as it really is. Projection occurs at every moment interfering with seeing things and people as they really are.
How do we know the penguins experience their conditions as harsh? Maybe their bodies are so well adapted to those conditions that they just see it as a cold day. After all, these are creatures who love to dive into the icey frozen ocean.
How do we know whether the penguins are struggling? Whether they worry? Or any of the other emotional feelings that are being ascribed to them?
We are not penguins, and we are not living in those conditions. As the saying goes, you cannot know another persons feelings until you've walked a mile in their shoes.